Seitan Shiitake and Leek Roast with Chickpea Gravy

Having had a successful first attempt at seitan I decided to venture from the cutlet onto something bigger—a roast, and a stuffed roast at that!  I followed Isa Chandra’s recipe from PPK to a T and it turned out wonderfully. A nicely, browned, seitan roast stuffed with meaty mushrooms, herbs, and leeks.  The roast solo is a bit dry for my taste so I paired it with Isa’s Chickpea Gravy, lending some moisture to the seitan.

Recipes with lots of steps seem to discourage people from trying, deeming them too difficult. I urge to you give this a try, it’s not complicated, pinky promise!  I’m already brainstorming new stuffing and marinade ideas for my next seitan roast.

Seitan Shiitake and Leek Roast
Seitan Shiitake and Leek Roast

The photo above depicts the steps:
1. Roll out the seitan into a rectangular-ish shape (it doesn’t have to be perfect) placing the stuffing at the bottom third
2. Roll the bottom part of the seitan up and over the filling. Keep rolling until in it’s in a log shape. Pinch together the seam and pinch together the sides to seal
3. Use 2- 18″ pieces of tin foil, laying them out horizontally in front of you. The sheet further from you should overlap the closer sheet by about 6 inches. This way you have enough foil to wrap around the whole roast
4. Place the seitan roast in the center of the tin foil and roll it up like a tootsie roll

Seitan Roast Stuffed with Shiitakes and Leeks
by IsaChandra

There are a few recipe notes before you begin:

~For best results, use a salty homemade vegetable broth. Salt is integral to the flavor of the seitan, so if your broth isn’t seasoned then add a teaspoon or so of salt to it.

~You’ll also want to spoon broth over the roast before serving, to keep it from being dry. Of course you’re going to be coating it in gravy, too. But the broth is a nice touch. If you’re slicing and serving, ladle on spoonfuls of broth on each individual slice, too. You can’t have too much juice, here!

~This roast reheats perfectly. Refrigerate in its wrapper for up to 3 days before hand. When ready to serve, preheat an oven to 350 F and cook for 20 minutes. This will dry it out a bit, so use the broth hints above for sure!

~Use a steak knife for the easiest slicing.

~I used panko breadcrumbs but if you use homemade, use 3/4 cup.

~This makes enough for 6 hungry people. If it’s not Thanksgiving or another holiday, and people are not totally stuffing their faces, it serves at least 8.

For the filling:
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 oz shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (rough ends removed)
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cut into thin half moons
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For the roast
3 cloves garlic
3/4 cup cooked pinto beans, rinsed and drained (fresh or canned)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed or finely chopped
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed between your fingers
1 teaspoon dried sage, crushed between your fingers
Several dashes fresh black pepper

First prepare the filling:
Preheat a large pan, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Saute the mushrooms and leeks in oil until soft, about 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper, garlic and thyme. Cook for about 2 more minutes, stirring often.

Sprinkle in the breadcrumbs and toss to coat. Cook the mixture, stirring very often, until the breadcrumbs are toasty and the mixture is relatively dry. This should take about 5 minutes, and the breadcrumbs should turn a few shades darker.

Drizzle in the broth and lemon juice and toss to coat until moist. If it still seems dry drizzle in a little extra olive oil. Set aside until ready to use.

Prepare the roast:

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a food processor, pulse the garlic until well chopped. Add the beans, broth, olive oil and soy sauce and puree until mostly smooth (a few pieces of bean are okay, but they should be no bigger than a pea.)

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, herbs and spices. Make a well in the center and add the bean mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture starts coming together to form a ball of dough. Knead until everything is well incorporated.

Now we’re going to roll out the seitan and form the roast. Place two pieces of tin foil (about 18 inches long) horizontally in front of you. The sheet further from you should overlap the closer sheet by about 6 inches. This way you have enough foil to wrap around the whole roast.

On a separate surface, use your hands or a rolling pin to flatten the seitan into a roughly 12 x 10 rectangle. If any pieces rip, don’t worry about it, just use a pinch of dough from the ends to repair any holes.

Place the filling in the lower 1/3 of the seitan rectangle, leaving about 2 inches of space at both ends. Make sure the filling is compact, use your hands to form it into a nice, tight bundle.

Now roll! Roll the bottom part of the seitan up and over the filling. Keep rolling until in it’s in a log shape. Now pinch together the seam and pinch together the sides to seal. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it will snap into shape when baking.

Place the roll in the center of the tinfoil and roll up like a tootsie roll, making sure the ends are tightly wrapped. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for an hour*. Rotate the roll every 20 minutes for even cooking.

Remove from oven and let cool. Unwrap, spoon vegetable broth overtop, slice and serve!

Seitan Roast Stuffed with Shiitakes and Leek with Chickpea Gravy
Seitan Roast Stuffed with Shiitakes and Leek with Chickpea Gravy

Chickpea Gravy
by Isa Chandra

makes about 3 cups

1/4 C all-purpose flour
Approximately 2 1/2 C water
1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, quartered and sliced thin
2 tsp mustard seeds
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 C cooked chickpeas, or 1 can, rinsed and drained
2 pinches ground cumin
2 pinches paprika
1 pinch dried rosemary
1 pinch dried thyme
1 pinch dried oregano
1 pinch dried coriander
3 Tbs soy sauce
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 C nutritional yeast

Mix the flour with 2 cups of water until the flour is mostly dissolved. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, onions and mustard seeds; cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are browned and the mustard seeds are toasted. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes more.

Add the chickpeas; use a potato masher to mash them — you don’t want to mash them into a paste, just make sure each one is broken up although if there are a few whole ones left, that is ok. Add the herbs and spices, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits of onion.

Lower heat and pour the flour mixture into the pan. Stir constantly until a thick gravy forms. Stir in the nutritional yeast. If it looks too thick and pasty, add more water and mix well. It may look like it doesn’t want any more water added to it, but just keep mixing and it will loosen up. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Barbecued Tofu, Black Beans, Pineapple and Basmati Brown Rice

I get a kick out of playing the game—let’s see what I can make out of whatever I find in my fridge and cupboard.  I love surprises and this game typically results in amazement or more wine….  The game is to be played with loud music and an adult beverage of sorts. Tonight it was One Day the Reckoning Song and Grand Traverse Semi-Dry Reisling a pretty good mix!
Continue reading “Barbecued Tofu, Black Beans, Pineapple and Basmati Brown Rice”

Meat-less Meatloaf Muffins Topped with Kale Mashed Potatoes

Finger food isn’t only for kids, grab ahold of these muffins and channel your inner-child! Fun to eat and easy to pack and reheat for a brown bagged lunch, you’ll be thinking of ways to mini-mize all of your favorite foods.

Meat-less Meatloaf Muffins

Meat-less Meatloaf Muffins Topped with Kale Mashed Potatoes

Meat-less Meatloaf Muffin

The inspiration for these meat-less meatloaf muffins came from The Sweet Life—a blog filled vegan delights. You can follow The Sweet Life’s Recipe which is equally good, topped with pureed butternut squash.  I’ve played around with toppings and tried a mashed sweet potato one which I threw into the”do not keep pile,” however the kale mashed potatoes are definitely a “keeper!”

Meat-less Meatloaf Muffins Topped with Kale Mashed Potatoes

Meat-Less Meatloaf from The Sweet Life:
1 cup brown lentils, dry
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp liquid smoke
2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup red onions, diced
1/3 cup green pepper, diced
1 (6) ounce can tomato paste
1 cup walnuts
2 tbsp chick pea flour
salt and pepper to taste

Kale Mashed Potatoes
this may be halved or enjoy extra mashers
3lbs potatoes, such as Yukon Gold
1 bunch of kale
1 Tbs. coconut oil
4Tbs butter
2 shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 green onions, chopped
1 -1 1/2 cups greek yogurt
1 tsp. sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375°F

For the Meat-less Meatloaf:
Rinse the lentils. In a medium pot combine lentils with vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking until lentils are soft (about 45 minutes). Add Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small pan heat vegetable oil. Saute onions and peppers over medium high heat for 5 minutes, until cooked. Stir together onion mixture, lentils, and tomato paste. In a food processor blend together walnuts and chick pea flour until combined. Add the lentil mixture and mix until well combined. Salt and pepper to taste.

Scoop lentil/walnut mixture into muffin tins, filling to the top. Bake for 20-23 minutes until edges brown and begin pulling away from the edge. It’s okay if it’s still a little underdone on the inside, it will harden as it sets.

Let cool in muffin tins at least 20 minutes. When ready to serve, release by running a knife around the edge.

Top the muffins with the Kale Mashed Potatoes either with a piping bag or a big spoon/ice cream scoop works just as well!

For the Kale Mashed Potatoes:
Prep all of your ingredients, wash, de-stem and chop the kale.  Chop the shallots, mince garlic and wash and cut your potatoes in half. Peeling of the potatoes are optional, I leave the skin on, as it gives the dish a more rustic look, saves on prep time and gives the dish more fiber. Put the potatoes into a large pot and cover them completely with tepid water and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender, 20-25 minutes. 

While the potatoes cook, heat the 1-teaspoon coconut oil in a sauté pan set over medium-low heat, and sauté the shallots and garlic until softened, 1 to 2 minutes and then add the kale until it softens yet still vibrant green (another minute or so.) Set aside.
When the potatoes are tender, drain them and return them to the pot.  Add to the potatoes the shallots, garlic, kale, butter and greek yogurt.
Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes together with the liquid ingredients until you get a smooth consistency.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”

Upon recommendation I watched, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Based on the trailer, I sensed an upbeat film laced with nostalgic feelings of eternal adolescence. I anticipated laughter, heartfelt-ness, easy-going freedom, and awkward high school days. Some things are not as they appear and this movie is categorized as such, a good film, wrought with emotion, questions, and intensity—just not what I expected. A line that stuck, a piece of advice from the main character’s English teacher:

“We accept the love we think we deserve.”

Questioning love. Love of someone or something, what is it that makes good people get treated badly? Why do we “stick” with someone or something that isn’t good for us? Is it based on past experiences? The fact that at some point, we all go through a bad time, a trauma or dramatic event in our lives and that defines what we think we deserve. Is it the perception of our own definition that can limit possibility?

It made me question my perception of myself, and my life.  The line/advice speaks to being in control of you, your future.  Loving yourself. Using the mind to accomplish what is needed in life. Not having fear, a loss of confidence in oneself, “it” controlling your future. Going after what you want with sheer confidence, complete and utter love for yourself—trust in yourself.

It’s good when something stops you and urges you to think, listen, and grow.


Mix Tape
P.S. the film includes a fave past-time of mine—prevailing your love for someone via the ultimate flirtation device, the mixtape!

Ribeira, Salvador da Bahia

Salvador, Bahia.  A place with a time of its own, where popular culture is current yet the past is present, not relived—a part of life.  Filled with colonial wonders, cobblestoned streets, sandy beaches, clay-brick shacks and modern concrete apartment buildings.  Salvador a third-world city with traffic jams and crowds, is a city with soul. It’s a place one will not soon forget, the feelings that consume you while there, continue to resonate. Salvador is bright, outgoing and receives all with open arms.
Continue reading “Ribeira, Salvador da Bahia”

Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Bahn Mi

The title may say breakfast but this bahn mi can be enjoyed at any meal.

The bahn mi is synonymous with the submarine sandwich, hailing from Vietnam. It was born when the French introduced the baguette to the country; a salad sandwich on crusty bread filled with greens, pickled vegetables, chiles, and tofu, seafood or meat.

Don’t skimp out on the Star Anise Daikon Pickles they make this sandwich!  The day before you make the bahn mi take 15min to prepare the daikon pickles:

Star Anise Daikon Pickles
Star Anise Daikon Pickles

For the Star Anise Daikon Pickles:
From Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero

1/2 pound daikon radish (about one slender 10 inch radish)

1/4 pound carrots (about 2 large carrots)

6 large green jalapeño or serrano chilies, stems removed

1 cup rice vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup kosher salt

1 teaspoon whole peppercorns, black or mixed color

4 whole star anise

Make the pickles ahead of time:

Peel daikon and carrots and slice into thin long matchsticks no thicker than 1/4 inch: I use a mandolin for this but you can take your time and use a chef’s knife. Or even better, use a Y-shaped julienne peeler. Slice the chilies in half, remove the seeds (or keep them in for really hot pickles), and slice into very thin slivers. Toss everything together and pack into a clean, dry 1 pint glass mason jar.

In a small saucepan bring to a gentle boil the vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns and star anise and boil for 2 minutes. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt and then pour everything over the vegetables in the jar, including the star anise and peppercorns. Cover very tightly and chill for 30 minutes before using. Keep tightly covered and chilled when not using.

Bahn Mi
Bahn Mi

It may look like a lot of steps but this sandwich comes together quickly and it’s just too darn amazing to pass up!  I promise your taste buds with thank you—now onto the Bahn Mi:

Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Bahn Mi
From Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero
Makes Four 8-inch, overstuffed sandwiches

For the tofu:

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced

3/4 cup thinly sliced shallots

4 scallions, white and green parts divided and sliced very thin

4 cloves garlic, peeled and mince

1 pound firm or extra firm tofu, drained

1/2 cup vegetable broth

3 tablespoons soy sauce (preferably Thai thin soy sauce ) or tamari

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 teaspoon curry powder, any variety

For assembling:

4 six to eight inch crusty sandwich rolls or sliced from 2 baguettes

Vegan mayonnaise

Cilantro springs

Thin slices of ripe tomato

Paper thin slices of red radish or matchsticks of daikon or jicama

Asian garlic chili sauce (such as Sriracha or sambal oelek)

Make the sandwich:

Heat a wok or cast iron skillet until nearly smoking, then sauté mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of oil until tender and browned, about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from wok, wipe down the surface and add remaining oil. Add the shallots and stir-fry until golden, about 4 minutes, then add white parts of scallion and garlic and stir fry for 1 minute. Crumble in tofu, add the mushrooms and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Whisk together vegetable broth, soy sauce, lime juice, coriander, white pepper, and curry powder and pour over tofu. Use a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula to stir fry tofu until all of the liquid has been absorbed and tofu is golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Tofu should be moist, but not wet. Add the green tops of the scallions, fry for another minute and remove from the heat.

Slice rolls in half and toast if desired. Spread insides with mayo and distribute the tofu evenly on the sandwiches. Top each sandwich with cilantro, tomato, radish, chili sauce, and daikon pickles if using. Eat immediately but over a plate…these are messy goodness.

Project:ReBrief™

Looking for inspiration? Believe in collaboration and innovation? Watch this remarkable collision of creative ideas and technology—

This year, Internet advertising turns 18-years-old.
And yet despite almost two decades of innovation online, digital ads are still being used to simply inform more than they’re being used to connect, engage and entertain. So we designed this experiment to re-imagine what advertising can be and push the boundaries of how creative ideas and our technology can work hand in hand.

Project Re: Brief is an inspiring story about the need for creative thinking in the face of enormous technological shifts in the way we communicate. In a beautiful collision of minds and media, Project Re: Brief is a grand experiment whereby Google partnered with five of the brightest “old-school” legends from advertising to re-imagine their most iconic creative work from a half-century ago for the modern web.

Directed by Doug Pray, and the same team who joined him to make the Emmy-Award-winning film and PBS hit “Art & Copy,” Project Re: Brief is a film that aims to shake up the ad industry and inspire new ways of thinking. While shifting formats and media platforms is one thing, as we learn from our heroes of the past, the basic tenets of human storytelling haven’t changed.

Roses are red…

Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
DIY gifts
show how much I LOVE YOU!

Valentine’s Day isn’t for everyone but who can resist the PINK and RED decor, the witty cards, creative packaging and sweet treats!
The thought of a homemade trinket or sentiment is a sure-fire way to express your love. So channel your inner cupid, get out your glitter, glue, craft scissors, recipes and heartfelt notes to say, I love you to family, friends and lovers with a DIY inspired Valentine.  Check out these inspirational faves:

First Row
1. Geometric Pink and Gold Heart from Oleander and Palm
2. Add a warming love note to a cup of tea from Martha Stewart
3. DIY Favor bag filled with homemade granola via Camille Styles

Second Row
1. Festive Tassel Garland sure to brighten up Valentine’s Day with pink and sparkle. Find it on Etsy from GlamFeteByBri
2. Pink Milk. Who didn’t love this as a kid? Adults and kids alike will find joy in sipping this all natural pink milk on V-Day from momtastic
3. How sweet are this DIY dip-dyed ombre mittens? Made from an old sweater and crafted from the heart.  Check out the how-to at ModCloth

Third Row
1. Season someone’s Valentine’s Day with a hug!  These hug salt and pepper shakers can be found at the Moma shop-not DIY but a cute gift
2. Make your baked goods extra heartfelt with this DIY Heart-Shaped Paper from Martha Stewart
3. Love these popsicle stick geometric hearts painted in gold and white from Oleander and Palm

Feast Your Eyes

(For Playful Lovers)

As with physical attraction, the food experience begins with the eyes. This Valentine’s Day, dish out the love with the aphrodisiac vigor of food and drink. Whether you’re hitched or single, incorporate any of the following into your V-Day meal for tantalizing effects.

Avocado
The Aztecs called this fruit, ahuacatl, which translates to “testicle.” Spanish conquistadors introduced the avocado as a stimulant, and the avocado’s fame spread so voraciously that Catholics were forbidden to eat it.

Fig
Get figgy with a fruit that represents fertility, is pleasing to the eye, and supple to the touch. The fig is representative of a woman’s unmentionables and is bestowed as a token of love in Italy.

Artichoke
Stripped leaf by leaf, the artichoke is a sensual vegetable to eat. Like undressing a lover and nibbling their neck until you reach—bliss.

Basil
Use fresh basil to pump up your passion—the leaves contain numerous libido-lifting nutrients. If a Roman man accepts a sprig of basil from a woman, he is as good as engaged. Take that, Romeo.

Oysters
The queen of passion-inducing foods, the plump and creamy, flesh-colored oyster is high in zinc, which helps increase the sex drive.  Suggestive shape aside, the oyster should be sucked from the shell raw after tarting it up with lemon juice.

Banana
This phallic symbol offers a sweet way to end a meal. In Indian traditions, the banana was offered as a gift to the fertility gods.

Chocolate
Dubbed the food of the gods, chocolate contains theobromine, a compound similar to caffeine, a natural stimulant. Montezuma, the great Aztec emperor, was known to imbibe 50 cups of hot chocolate before tearing loose on his harem.

Alcohol
Whatever is in vogue will do. Alcohol is known to reduce inhibitions and spark celebration. They say that the effervescent scent of champagne replicates female pheromones.

Almond
With an aroma supposedly sexually stirring to women, the almond is associated with fertility and passion.  In Greece, sugar-coated almonds are tossed as a send off for a romantic honeymoon.

Eggs
Erotic and restorative in nature, eggs are associated with virility and, most obviously fertility. French brides break an egg at the front door to encourage a large family.

February 2013, Flavor616 Magazine

Spaghetti and “Beanballs”

Aha! A vegetarian meatball that holds itself together, this is good news!
Spaghetti and “Beanballs” makes for a great weeknight meal that can be made ahead and reheated to serve. I’m looking forward to noshing on this protein and fiber-rich dish after my run tonight.

An added benefit to these balls is that you can play with them—okay that was awful humor but really, change the type of beans, herbs and seasonings  to create new dishes! Think, black beans with a Latin flair e.g. green onion, cilantro, jalapeno, and mango or Mediterranean style with chopped kalamata olives, parsley, lemon juice and sumac—possibilities!

Raw "Beanballs", Cooked "Beanballs" and Spaghetti + "Beanballs"
Raw “Beanballs”, Cooked “Beanballs” and Spaghetti + “Beanballs”

Spaghetti and Beanballs
Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cans of White Beans, drained
1 1/2-2 Roasted Red Peppers, diced
1 Yellow Onion, grated
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 c. chopped Parsley
1 c. Panko Bread Crumbs (if you find the bean mixture to be too wet, add more breadcrumbs)
1  Egg
1 Tbsp. Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste
Your favorite Marinara Sauce-25oz Jar
Parmesan Cheese for grating
Spaghetti Noodles

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a baking sheet.  If you have a food processor feel free to pulse the beans and roasted red peppers until finely chopped, otherwise in a flat-bottomed pan or skillet mash together the beans and roasted red peppers with a potato masher until you reach a chopped consistency.

Transfer this mixture to a medium-sized bowl and add the garlic, onion, bread crumbs, oregano, salt, pepper and egg.  Stir until combined.  Begin by taking about 2 Tablespoons of bean mixture and roll between your palms until a ‘ball’ shape is attained.  Line the beanballs on the prepared baking sheet, spaced evenly. Bake about 20 minutes or until the beanballs are golden in color and firm to the touch.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring water to a boil to cook spaghetti noodles.

In a large skillet heat your fave marinara sauce over medium heat.  Add the beanballs to the skillet with the marinara and simmer until heated through 10-15 minutes.

When the noodles are al dente and ready to serve, dish out the spaghetti onto plates and top with the marinara and beanballs, then grate parmesan cheese atop and serve.

Heartfelt Notes for Valentine’s Day

Take note of these Valentines:

I’m so dizzy, my head is spinning!  If you’re not love-sick this Valentine’s Day, this card should do the trick, from Dear Hancock

Do it like the French!  Say I love you with this playful card from Yellow Owl Workshop

Cleverness from Rifle Paper Co.!  They also have one’s with the phrases, “You’re the Cat’s Pajamas.” and “You’re the Bee’s Knees.”

A modern, neon statement heart to say— I “heart” you Valentine, from Catbird NYC

This is a personal fave, I just can’t resist!  Who doesn’t love UNICORNS!  Also from Catbird NYC

This is a kit from baily doesn’t bark it includes 4 blank cards w/envelopes, embossed white hearts, customizable black chalkboard hearts and chalk!

Feeling crafty and want something EXCEPTIONAL to give your valentine?  Try creating these heartfelt, DIY Paint Chip Garlands from Brit + Co

Mashable’s: Replaced by Modern Technology

Mashable recently released an infographic displaying, 50 Things That Have Been Replaced By Modern Technology.  While I don’t agree with everything on this list, as I believe that some things have been enhanced rather than replaced, I still found it entertaining. Call me old fashioned but a few of these things sparked a sense of nostalgia in me. I decided to create my own list of things from Mashable’s that I wish were NOT replaced by modern technology.  (note: I’m also thankful for some replacements like renewing my license via the interent!)

1. Print Photographs

I love the anticipation of seeing what will appear, it’s that element of surprise.  I also enjoy sprucing up home-decor with my travel photos and back in my college days I took a class on developing film and prints, sans the overpowering scent of chemicals the process is amazing!

2. Handwritten Letters

I mean really, who doesn’t love receiving a handwritten note.  A thank you, an I love you, a just because!  As email becomes the norm, the USPS gets further in debt and smart phones and tablets encourage pencil and paper to become obsolete—will writing even be an option?!

3. Make Mixed Tapes

While I don’t own a cassette player I was a HUGE FAN of the mixed tape when I did!  An ultimate way to flirt or say I love you 🙂

4. Check A Map Before A Road Trip or Vacation

What can I say I’ve got a fascination with maps AND not only are they fascinating but you really get to see the BIG picture.  I’m a visual person therefore if I see where I’m going, I can comprehend directions better.  Also I do recall a GPS dumping my family off at a factory parking lot when we were expecting to arrive at Graceland!

5. Remember Phone Numbers

I have a great memory, I can tell you my very first phone number while growing up and I even rattle off my childhood friend’s home phone number from 1985 (I was five then.) Smart phones are now the keeper of digits, all we have to do is find a name and push a button.  When I think about it there really isn’t a reason to remember phone numbers—except for when you’re stranded or lost with a dead phone and need to call a friend or family member from someone else’s…

6. Visit Yard Sales and Flea Markets

I think this is still a ‘thing’ ummm DIY Pinterest anyone!  I like to mix old with new or find a new way to use an old item and sales are the perfect place to peruse and allow your mind to get creative.  I also have an affinity for dishes and am currently collecting a set (Temporama) from the ’60’s—sales are a great place to score finds for items like these.

Defining The Bitter End

The Bitter End

Merriam Webster’s Definition

: the last extremity however painful or calamitous
: the inboard end of a ship’s anchoring cable

Grand Rapids’s Definition
: a coffee house open 24/7

For nearly 10 years, The Bitter End Coffee House has staked its residence at 752 Fulton Street West. The coffee house itself is a mere baby in comparison to the age of the structure in which it resides. The building, a century-old bank, has been restored to its early, 20th-century ambience.

Entering The Bitter End Coffee House instigates a sense of nostalgia. Oak woodwork embraces the walls, leaded glass windows shed light on passersby, and a detailed tin ceiling attracts the eye upward.

A dark and quiet atmosphere, walls covered in distinct artwork, and background tones of jazz and blues set the tone for this textbook coffeehouse. One would imagine poets, writers, and late-night creatives claiming chair-space at this dark, European-esque establishment.

Located in Grand Rapids’s University District, students take refuge in this locale, suitable for quiet study and work in a co-populated atmosphere. For those craving a social visit, pull your chairs together and play a board game from the shop’s selection.

The Bitter End can satisfy all palettes at anytime of day or night with their myriad of fair trade organic coffee drinks, teas, and over 100 flavors of smoothies and Italian sodas. For those with an affinity for Yerba Mate or Bubble Tea, The Bitter End has you covered. Order up and watch as the barista prepares your drink of choice.

The Bitter End Coffee House—go visit 24/7 and define it for yourself.

February 2013, Flavor616 Magazine